Sunday, July 8, 2012

Baby Talk

I've been thinking about children's stories a lot lately (and the reason for that is Another Story, a very long one, for Another Time).

If you were starting from scratch, filling a bookcase for a little one, what books would you get them?

I can't remember many special truly young books in my childhood.  I had a freakishly high reading age, so I just about remember making the leap from Famous Five to Alistair MacLean.  Then there were the 'family' books, stories read together or read to us - Watership Down and the Narnia stories. 

I have fleeting memories of Ladybird books, though, strangely visual ones, so I can remember the exact shade of the golden ball the princess played with, before she lost it in the Frog Prince's pool.  I seem to remember Mister Men books - my favourite was Mr Tickle, I think.  But there was no Beatrix Potter in my childhood, and I don't think there was Winnie the Pooh, either (sacrilege!).

So building my imaginary children's library is a bit of a challenge.

What do you recommend?


  1. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss. Best book ever written.


  2. Definitely the Potter books and Dr Seuss. Also Dick King Smith features in my mind along with the Mr Men books and Ladybird. I have a great one called Cat and Fish that i bought as an adult for the illustrations. Is an Australian book but beautiful.

  3. Definitely Green Eggs and Ham, would add in some of my kids favourites The Wish Who Could Wish, The Gruffalo, The Hungry Caterpiller....from my own childhood - Make Way Fro The Ducklings...and all the EB White books


  4. Madeline by Ludwig Bertelmans - lovely story, brilliant for reading aloud and gorgeous illustrations of Paris. Oh, and a more recent one, Dogs Don't Do Ballet by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie.

  5. I also had freakishly high reading age because my mother, a hard woman, hated reading aloud.

    1Agree Dr Seuss and E B White

    2Winnie the Pooh and Babar;

    3The Hobbit, Where the Wild Things Are;

    4 The Sword in the Stone, T H White; The Lives of Christopher Chant by Diana Wynne Jones (well, anything she wrote, really); Eva Ibbotson, likewise; Children of the New Forest by Captain Marryatt(Victorian but a cracking story; I read it again and again until it fell apart); The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett,see previous. Skellig by David Almond

  6. I'm sitting here beaming a wide smile. Fantastic suggestions!

    Now I want to collect them all and read them myself...


  7. I agree about Dick King Smith - I read all his stories to my children. Also a wonderful book called "The Owl Who was Afraid of the Dark" by Jill Tomlinson & Paul Howard, it's brilliant! From my own childhood I remember a Ladybird book called something like "The Party" where the little girls wore beautiful, vividly coloured dresses which I never tired of looking at. And of course, I have to vote for the Pippi Longstocking books :)